Sunday, January 15, 2017

A government cover up that destroyed many lives...

A government cover up that destroyed many lives...

"I loved this book!! What a matter​-​of​-​fact inspirational story. I found it to ​be so ​heart felt, ​h​eart warming and genuine. It gives hope to the hopeless and faith to those struggling. ​Very empowering!" ~Brenda R.

cover up of one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the United States took place at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from 1957 to 1987. An estimated one million Marines and families were exposed to multiple sources of unregulated chemicals discovered in base drinking water systems. One specific chemical was benzene, a gasoline additive, which is a carcinogen known to cause cancer. One point one million gallons of gasoline leaked into the drinking water. This has been the subject of at least three congressional hearings over the last few years. Numerous documents containing explosive information have been unearthed. 

Another chemical was Trichloroethylene (TCE), a chlorinated solvent in fire extinguishers, aerosol propellants, degreasers, cleaning solutions, paint thinners, pesticides, and glues - to name a few.

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Okay Is Not Good Enough by Jean Lauzier

This past spring, I attended a semi-local writer's conference. One of the speakers said that it was okay to publish a book that had errors in it. That it didn't matter, because you could always upload a revised version any time you want. He also said if you were to get a bad review due to the errors, that was okay too. You just need to grow a tough skin and ignore it. Then he stated that if the reader likes your story, they will buy your next book, even with all the errors. By the time I recovered my senses, he'd gone on to promote his "how to write and publish a book in thirty days or less" book.
I don't know about you, but I dislike a bunch of typos and grammar mistakes when trying to read. Sure, I understand a book will never be totally error-free, but we should strive to get as close as possible. I'm an avid reader and have returned books riddled with formatting issues and errors. And I certainly won't be buying anything else from them.
Authors such as this are the reason self-publishing still leaves a bad taste in many reader's mouths. And, I understand the legacy publishers aren't perfect, but they do try.
As an editor for a medium-sized publisher, I see many submissions that really aren't ready. Even though we require a professional edit before submitting, it's amazing how many manuscripts still need editing when we get them.
One thing I often see at the start of a submission is page upon page of backstory. Naturally, the author needs to know their characters' past. Especially since that character's past tends to have a bearing on the story at hand. But, it needs to be woven in. A little bit here, a little bit there. Yes, it's easier just to lump it all together, but many readers are going to skim over it or will close the book and find something more interesting.
Dialogue tags are another area where authors take the easy way. So many times, I see "he said angrily" or "she stated emphatically".  How much better it would be to add a beat such as "He slammed his fist into the wall." Or "She stomped her sneaker-clad foot."  Yes, doing it this way is a lot of work, but so worth it.
I think a lot of the problem is many authors don't study their craft. And it is a craft. A woodcarver doesn't become a master craftsman overnight. He spends years practicing, making mistakes, starting over, and continues learning.
Same thing with musicians. Sure, there is the occasional genius who doesn't need to practice, but those are few and far between. Most musicians start with the basics, practice and practice, then practice some more.
Writers must study our craft, too. We can't be content with "okay". When I read, I want to be transported into the story, to escape from my reality for a while. If I have to slog through ten or fifteen pages of backstory before something happens, I'll find another book. If grammar issues keep jerking me out of the story, I'll find one that doesn't.
As writers, we can't edit our own work. At least not well. We tend to read what we think should be there, what we meant to write. Many of us don't know all the nuances a professional editor should. (I'm still trying to figure out commas.) A professional editor is a writer's best friend and worth every penny they charge.  A professional editor wants your book to be the best it can be and will work hard to make it so.  And, that professional edit will get you an acceptance letter and publishing contract. 
I'm a mystery and fantasy writer who plays in a lot of different genres.  I'm also a mom and a wife. When not writing, doing social media stuff, or any of the 900 other things that need to be done, I kill bonsai trees, (not on purpose) try to train the cats, and spend time with our Doberman Pinschers, Mocha and Sonnet.

I'm also the Acquisitions Editor for White Bird Publications. I love reading submissions and working with writers to bring their dreams of publication true.
Jean Lauzier

When the Curse of Tutankahamen was unleashed, Elvis stepped in...

When the Curse of Tutankahamen was unleashed, Elvis stepped in...
As with Carolyn's books on Astrology I was impressed with her meticulous research and clever skills as a writer. The possibility of Elvis being the incarnate of King Tutankhamen seems so very possible as she brings together the lives and similarities of the two "Kings". It just so happened I finished the book the day before the anniversary of Elvis's death bringing an even deeper appreciation of Elvis and all he contributed to our lives. Thank you Carolyn for sharing your experience,knowledge and dream. This is one of those books that will have a lasting effect on my life. I was sad to read the words "The End".  ~Susan S.
A time travel about the reincarnation of Elvis Presley from King Tutankhamen, Kings of Memphis begins 3,400 years ago when the instructions of King Tut's carpenters were inadvertently reversed. The doors of King Tut's tomb should have been opened to the West so he could emerge and walk directly into the afterlife. Instead, on February 16, 1923, the doors opened to the East and the unthinkable happened. The famous Curse of Tutankhamen was unleashed until 1935 when the misfortunes appeared to have stopped, and when the new King of Memphis, Elvis Presley, was born. 

This book was written by a member of a small group of fans who had the privilege of spending time with Elvis in Bel Air in the 60's. Her account of actual events is interwoven throughout the novel. 

Elvis was interested in the metaphysical. Here are some of his quotes: "I don't believe that death is the end. Reincarnation has gotta be explains a lot about why people are the way they are." (and) (About Priscilla): "It's reincarnation. How else would a grown up man be so drawn to a fourteen-year-old-girl? She was only a dress rehearsal."

Interestingly enough, King Tut married his Queen Ankhesenamen, when she was only fourteen, just one of the eerily similar coincidences between the two.

The book has something for everyone, Elvis fans, King Tut fans, alternate history buffs, time travel enthusiasts, mystery readers, and fans of love stories. This love story is Elvis' search through the landscape of dreams for his lost soul mate, the beautiful Sataiu.

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Update on Feather Schwartz Foster

A very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all of you.

Some nice news about Feather Schwartz Foster and hew newest book MARY LINCOLN'S FLANNEL PAJAMAS…

Feather (and "Mary & her PJs") have been accepted to participate in the 23rd annual  Virginia Festival of the Book  March 22-26, 2017.  Details are sketchy right now, but will follow up next month!  

This is a great and prestigious honor – nearly a thousand applications have been submitted, and only a hundred or so are chosen.  I blush.  Stay tuned!

Here are some upcoming speaking/signing events for Feather Schwartz Foster, author of THE FIRST LADIES, and her newest book, MARY LINCOLN'S FLANNEL PAJAMAS…

Saturday, January 10 AM  - 2 PM – William & Mary Bookstore, Merchants Sq., Williamsburg, VA 

Saturday, January 21  10 AM –2 PM William & Mary Bookstore, Merchants Sq., Williamsburg, VA 


"Mary Lincoln's Flannel Pajamas"
and other stories from the First Ladies' Closet

Nifty gift for all occasions!  Nifty selection for your book club!

Available in trade paperback, hard cover and e-book.  
Order now at amazon - 
or Barnes & Noble   


Super-duper podcasts on 
 Delightful (honest!!) PODCASTS.  Downloadable via the internet, I–tunes or whatever else… 

Contact Feather Schwartz Foster to arrange a speaking speaking engagement or a phone-in session with your book club!


Check out my wordpress blog for some nifty POTUS/FLOTUS and nifty history people stories!                                                            An FDR White House Xmas                                                          John Hay, TR and Lincoln's Hair                                                                                                                                                          Benjamin Harrison and the Washington Centennial.  And Me.                                                             Mary Lincoln: The Last Sad Years

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

15 Slump Busters

What to Do When the Assignments Stop Coming

Cal Orey, Guest Author

Imagine: The phone doesn't ring, you find yourself amid a pile of rejection letters, and money's tight. It's been more weeks than you care to count since you've gotten an assignment or book contract, you've got serious reservations about your writer's status, and last but not least, the fear of never getting a new gig haunts you like a spooky Stephen King sci-fi tale.
If you're like me and most writers, at some time you'll probably hit a plateau - the point when it seems you just can't pull out of a big, unfortunate S-L-U-M-P. What gives?
Blame it on your fave book publisher downsizing, your pet editor(s) going AWOL, or karma. But the good news is, you can reprise your role as a prolific writer. So if you're down, on the verge of suffering through a sales lull or trying to find a way out, get prepared to write yourself out of a slump. It can be done. I'm living proof.
Whether you need a jump-start or want to make a comeback, the following slump-busters suggest some strategies for boosting your number of assignments, revamping your rebound strategies and coping while trying to end a bad streak.
1. Market, Market, Market - Yeah, it's frustrating to send stuff into what seems like a black hole. But note: The key is to market more, not less. Just ask Patricia Fry of Ojai, Calif., a seasoned journalist and author of 15 books. "When I feel like I'll never get another assignment, I contact all of the editors and publishers I've worked with before and offer my assistance," she says. "I let them know that I'm available and I suggest a couple of new article ideas." Play the number game: The more queries you send out, the better your odds of success.
2. Recycle Reprints - While marketing can give you hope of ending a slump, actually selling your published work is, of course, the faster moneymaker. During one holiday season, I had a pile of relationship quizzes published in Complete Woman magazine. I faxed a bunch of them as potential reprints to a large magazine publisher, Australian Consolidated Press (, and prayed for a Christmas miracle. Two weeks later, both Australian Women's Weekly and Cleo purchased reprint rights to several of my articles, with a payment of nearly $1,000.
3. Spread Your Wings - Now is the time to break out of your comfort zone and go to Plan B. "As I watched several of the mags I was writing for go under, I noticed that the tech mags were growing and even multiplying," Fry says. "I studied technology magazines, came up with some ideas, began sending out query letters and landed quite a few assignments I was comfortable writing about." Translation: Teens, couples and women in tech businesses kept this writer working. P.S. I confess. I also migrated toward this money trail.
4. Get Local Business - In Lake Tahoe, where I live, real estate is hot stuff. I boldly called the owner of a luxury real estate firm and offered my copywriting services. And I was home free. First, I rewrote nine newspaper ads (less than 200 words each for a total of $1,800). And that's not all. I revamped the company Web site's agent bios ($35 to $65 each) and developed articles on 15 Tahoe-area communities ($1,200). Then, I created fun articles on Tahoe's favorite beaches and golf courses ($400 each) and restaurants ($800).
5. Go Global - My writer pal, Larry Tritten of San Francisco, has taken a different path, too. "If the road you're on is muddy, take a detour," says Tritten, a veteran writer who has experienced the ups and downs of the market. His gift for sensory detail has been his ticket to faraway lands like Rio de Janeiro, Malta and the Caribbean. Tritten gives kudos to the Travelwriter Marketletter (at for giving him a ticket to see the world. "For seven days, I recently had designer rooms in two resorts, slept with sliding doors wide open to warm nights, the sight of coconut palms and sound of surf from sea only 50 yards away. Very strange to live like a millionaire for a week, then back to a more conventional lifestyle. I'm living in high style and getting paid to write about it," he says.
6. Promote Yourself - While Tritten is globetrotting, I continue booking out-of-town book signings for my latest book, 202 Pets' Peeves: Cats and Dogs Speak Out on Pesky Human Behavior. These fatten my ego - and pocketbook. Not only do big bookstores make me feel wanted, all of the publicity helps boost my confidence and book sales, pays off my book advance, and can lead to a lot more. . .
7. Consult on a Book Proposal - For example, in Reno, Nev., a woman came up to my book signing table and asked me how she could get her personal health story published. One week later I presented to her a book outline and details of a number of options appropriate to her situation, including having her book ghostwritten or done as an "as told to," as well as the benefits of self-publishing. I charged a flat rate of $400 for three hours.
8. Cook up an Idea - While that first consultation did not lead to a book, it did prepare me for my next book signing - and hitting a jackpot in Las Vegas. A cooking expert, Roe Valenti, approached my table at a bookstore there and told me she had written a cookbook, sort of. I offered to take a look and we connected: I was hired for $4,500 to rewrite and coauthor an innovative, self-published cookbook I titled Just Cook It! How to Get Culinary Fit 1-2-3 (iUniverse).
9. Sell Your Books on the Side - I realized that peddling comp copies of 202 Pets' Peeves to Canada geese on the beach during off-season at the lake wasn't going to pay my bills. I took advantage of the fact that a book contract with a traditional publisher or self-publisher will often allow a writer to buy books in bulk at a discount rate, though they cannot be sold in bulk. In my case, I discovered that it doesn't hurt to sell signed books one-on-one to acquaintances who will spread the word about an animal-lovers' book. That way, you can make extra money selling your stuff and pay off your book advance, too. It's a win-win situation.
10. Hang in There and Live Life - No matter how bleak things look, don't fall victim to the "out-of-work" blues. Keep a move on and embrace what moves you. Before John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, he observed firsthand the real life of migrant workers. Jack London's two classics, The Call of the Wild and White Fang, were drawn from the author's northland adventures. Both authors learned how to adapt and survive in the best and the worst of times. Famous writers like these experienced life and wrote about their experiences. Go ahead - open up your heart, and take a risk, too. (Refer to Slump Buster #5.)
11. Be a Pro - The fact remains, a writer's slump can hit anyone, anytime. But hey, if you practice being a professional during the up times, it might help you sail through the down times. "Meet your deadlines, follow guidelines, be reliable and easy to work with," Fry suggests. And it's these tips and tricks that have paid off for her. She had written for one magazine for years on a regular basis. "One day the editor asked me if I'd like to bid on a major job for their international organization," she says. "I'm happy to say that my good track record paid off and I landed this lucrative job."
12. Network with a Capital N - Ever think you're too busy for the writing world? Think again. Fry is also the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network), which offers links to research sources, publishers, printers and the media. Get up-to-date market information at Organizations like this can help you get and stay connected. Another good online networking source is, where I've landed some nice assignments.
13. Hug Your Agent (or get one!) - Literary agents can help you as well, even on gloomy days. Ah, trust me, it's bliss to have your agent send you an e-mail saying, "Hang in there." And think how good it must feel to know you've got someone in your corner marketing your words of wisdom. To find a perfect fit, check out
14. Pamper Yourself - As you go through a dry spell, chill out. It helps me to look at inspirational articles and books I have written or that are due to be published. As a health and fitness writer, I also know too well that pigging out on a carton of ice cream and playing couch potato doesn't make for a comeback. Instead, try nourishing your spirit by walking or reading. Healthy activities like these help me fire up the creative juices, and they can get you through a rough patch.
15. Keep a Can-Do Attitude - You'll recover faster. That means, return messages ASAP when that Type-A editor calls with an assignment due yesterday. Yesterday, I accepted a magazine assignment via e-mail, interviewed two Realtors® for agent bios, quickly dished out a new pet-related idea on command to a book editor, slated another book signingwhen the PR person called me, and did edits for Just Cook It! Whoo! Jump on opportunity when it strikes.
And stay geared up for action. Take care of your computer, supplies and contacts during signs of a rebound. Among the welcome signals that you're back in business, I can attest, are an editor's e-mail requesting fresh ideas, call-waiting beeps, or a satisfied client wanting you to expand a project. (Read: more money.)
As you pick yourself up, and you will, think of Paul Newman in The Color of Money. Just repeat his character Fast Eddie's confident words, "Hey, I'm back!" And take a bow. You survived a writer's slump. Congrats!
Copyright © 2016 - Cal Orey. - Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of The Writer .

Get a grip on social media

Get a grip on social media

Get Ready to Win the Game of Social Media Today teaches a fun and effective way of marketing your business, book, coaching practice or product. If it ain't no fun, it won't get done! If you've ever wanted or needed to build a social media presence but felt overwhelmed and unsure where to begin, this book covers the following topics:
  • Using social media if You're Not a Geek
  • Why You Need a Social Network
  • How To Build Your Brand Identity with Your Blog
  • How to Make A Ritual of Connecting with Your Social Network
  • What Happens If You Do Nothing in the Social Media?
  • Speak English Please, I'm Not a Computer

Want to Learn More About How to Win the Game of Social Media? Read What is Social Media Today: Get Ready to Win the Game of Social Media and find out how to become a social media genius!

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Do You Have This Gift?

  You know when most people have a talent they never think about how and why they have this gift. On the other hand, I am very different. At thirty-five, I suffered a brain aneurysm, putting me in a wheelchair, not a very nice experience. At this time in my life I could sing like a bird, but no more after this happened. The aneurysms paralyzed one of my vocal cords and I lost my ability to sing. But I soon discovered I had a hidden talent I had no idea I had. This hidden talent was the ability to write, something I had never ever suspected.

    When I lost my voice, I felt so lost. I remarried soon after the aneurysm, and one day my husband dared me to write a poem. This is when it came to my attention that I could write, not just poetry but stories as well. I wasn't just a writer but I was a story teller. I had always hears if you were good in one art, you would be in another and I was.

    I really hold on to my gift because I can do something, that many can't do. If pride is a sin then I am a sinner, because I take pride in my gift, it's something special I can do and I have never took any kind of classes for writing, so this gift is all me. I don't like to blow my horn, but I know I can write. I'm sure Aretha Franklin knows she can sing, so what is wrong with knowing I can write?
    I feel like to be bonified in your gift, it will constantly on your mind. I eat and sleep writing and my ideas for writing. I can get inspiration from a stop sign. When I go to bed at night, I usually lie beside my husband for a couple of hours thinking about writing and ideas to write about.
    I use to write about serial killers, ghosts, things of the paranormal, but now I would say my genre is historical thrillers. Like my last novel and the sequence I am working on now is about the Knight's Temper and their  treasure. Not really of the paranormal. But kind of a book on Christianity. I feel this is my destiny. These novels were inspired by Dan Brown's DaVinci Code, but totally different. My book is called Seekers of the Suppressed and Forbidden. The title makes a lot of sense, just stop and think religion has been done this way.
     If you feel you can write, pursue it, PLEASE! Don't sell yourself short! It just might be your calling and your destiny. Most any one that knows me has no idea in reality, I am shy wanting to stay behind the scenes. Well, with writing I can do so and I really like that. If you are shy it is perfect. I think my best pay is to see a person's face, especially after they read some of my work. I'm not in this for monetary gain, I love to entertain people with my gift.
     I just hope if you have this gift, use it to entertain people, especially in these times that are a total uproar,everyone needs a temparary escape. If only with a book, a cheap way to escape, and in these times that's even better. If you feel you can give of yourself by writing, do so because it is only fear stopping you and you can overcome that.


Mary Kellis

Lanaia Lee Lanaia Lee was born in 1957 to a Navy father and a schoolteacher mother who home-schooled her.
In second grade, she was reading on a 4th grade level, so they moved her to a private school to enhance her education.  
When she was nine years old, her mother died from a massive stroke. Because her father was rarely home, her grandmother,
a professed black witch, gained custody.  
My website